| Easy Pumpkin Gnocchi (Gnocchi di Zucca)
Servings: 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
About 2 minutes
Recipes are rated from 1 to 5 forks, with 1 fork being the easiest and 5 forks the most challenging.
This simple version of gnocchi can be made with or without the pumpkin and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. If you are looking for a warm and comforting fall or winter dish, you need to try this recipe! Zucca is the Italian word for pumpkin or similar winter squash, which is one of my favorite fruits. Yes, pumpkin is a fruit even though most people consider pumpkin and other squash varieties as vegetables. Gnocchi is typically thought of as a noodle, but in reality it is a potato dumpling.
Instructional images follow the recipe.
- 1/2 cup Instant Mashed Potato Flakes (use the dried flakes rather than the pearls or granules) (like this for example)
- 1 Tablespoon Flaxseed, ground (golden flaxseed preferred)
- 1/4 cup Hot Water (Boiling)
- 1/2 cup Pumpkin puree, canned or roasted (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) (see my roasted pumpkin recipe)
- 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon dry sage (rubbed sage)
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves, dried (substitute 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour (plus more for dusting)
- 1 recipe Cashew Cream Sauce - see the recipe link here Sage Cream Sauce
- 1 cup Pasta sauce (Your favorite pasta sauce instead of the cashew cream sauce)
Optional Finishing Ingredients:
- 1 Tablespoon Vegan butter or olive oil
- 2 Large Fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns - crushed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts - toasted
If making regular gnocchi (without the pumpkin), add an additional 1/2 cup of potato flakes and an additional 1/2 cup of hot water in the initial steps. Use any herbs or seasonings that you would like, such as basil, oregano, ground fennel seeds, or an Italian herb blend (about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons total herbs).
This recipe also works well with roasted or boiled sweet potatoes or any other hard winter squash such as butternut or acorn. Canned pumpkin typically contains more moisture than freshly roasted squash. If you are making the gnocchi with freshly roasted squash, you should let the squash cool after roasting and mash the squash well. You may also need to reduce the flour by 2 tablespoons or slightly more to get the correct consistency. If you are using boiled squash (or boiled sweet potatoes), you can use it as you would canned pumpkin.
If you want to make a more traditional gnocchi with real potatoes, I recommend baking the potatoes or cooking them in the microwave rather than boiling the potatoes to keep the moisture low and the potatoes fluffy. Use a potato ricer to create mashed potatoes for best results. For this recipe, use 1/2 cup of mashed potato and 1/2 cup of pumpkin, all other measurements would remain the same.
I recommend Bob's Red Mill Potato Flakes if you can find them because there are not added ingredients, just potatoes. Here is a link to purchase them on Amazon if you can't find them in your local grocery store. Bob's Red Mill Potato Flakes
Putting it together:
Place the potato flakes and ground flaxseed in a large bowl pour in the hot water, stirring with a large spoon to combine. Add the pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, sage, and thyme and stir to fully combine. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to hydrate.
After the mixture has rested, add the flour and sprinkle the baking powder on top of the flour. Stir with the spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a rough dough. Use your hands to knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it fully comes together as a homogenous dough. You do not want to overmix the dough as the resulting gnocchi will become rubbery. Once the dough has come together, let it rest another 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb some of the moisture.
Lightly dust your countertop or large cutting board with whole wheat flour. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. With one of the balls of dough, begin rolling the dough into a rope between your hands, and then transfer the rope of dough to your work surface. Use your hands to roll the dough, guiding the dough with your hands and fingers from the center of the rope to the ends, so it forms a long rope about 1/2 inch thick. Lightly flour the rope of dough and set the dough rope aside and repeat with the remaining 3 balls of dough.
Dust a plate or baking tray with flour. Cut each rope of dough into 1 inch pieces. Use a fork to gently score each piece of dough so it is slightly indented from the tines of the fork. This is done by placing the tines of the fork on each piece of dough, and gently pressing down while rolling the piece of dough toward the tip of the fork. As you score the gnocchi, place it on the floured plate or baking tray, keeping each gnocchi separated so they do not stick together.
Note: At this point, you can freeze the gnocchi on the plate or baking tray if you want to cook them at a later date. Once frozen, transfer the them to a plastic bag or sealed container until you are ready to cook the gnocchi. You can also place them into the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, as long as you keep them on the plate or baking tray where they are not touching.
When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and add the gnocchi. You are looking for a steady boil where the water is bubbling, but not where the water is boiling so hard it is splashing, this will help cook the gnocchi without it falling apart. Once the gnocchi begin to float, they are cooked. When the gnocchi is done, I recommend removing the gnocchi with a strainer or slotted spoon, but you can also strain the gnocchi by dumping it through a large strainer if desired. At this point, you can serve the gnocchi with your favorite sauce, or you can sear the gnocchi in a hot pan to create a slight crust on the gnocchi.
If you want to sear the gnocchi, you will need to heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil or vegan butter along with 2 finely chopped sage leaves. Make sure the oil is covering the bottom of the pan and add the gnocchi, tossing to coat with oil. Let the gnocchi sear in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes while occasionally tossing or stirring to prevent sticking. You can serve the seared gnocchi as they are, or serve with your favorite pasta sauce. I recommend this sage cream sauce as mentioned above, along with a few toasted pine nuts with a sprinkling of crushed pink peppercorns.
Mise en place:
Easy Gnocchi Mise en place - get everything ready before you start to cook!
Putting it all together:
Combine the potato flakes and the ground flaxseeds in a bowl and add the hot water.
Add the pumpkin puree and seasonings, stir to combine
Add the flour and baking powder and mix
Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball and let rest for a few minutes
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface
Roll each piece of dough between your hands into a small rope
Roll the dough on the floured work surface to form ropes about 1/2 inch thick
Slice the dough into 1 inch pieces
Use a fork to gently score the dough
Keep the cut and scored gnocchi separated on a floured work surface or in a floured baking pan until you are ready to cook
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the gnocchi. The gnocchi is cooked once all of the pieces begin to float
Optional searing in a hot pan with oil or butter:
(Optional) - Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add oil or vegan butter along with chopped sage.